Port Macquarie’s Dave Chandler and Jonathan Ryan secured the 2022 Motorsport Australia NSW Off Road Championship in style last season, aided by claiming a maiden outright victory on home soil at Dondingalong in July.
Motorsport was always in the blood; his father Lloyd raced speedway and 1/4 mile drags as a youngster, before taking up off roading. Chandler was always destined for a racing career. A cousin to the Rose, Turner and Hatch families out of Warialda, Chandler kickstarted his offroad career navigating beside Lloyd in 1998 before moving into the driver’s seat just twelve months later. As life took the upper hand in 2001, Chandler sold the car, before returning to the scene in a Cougar buggy in 2014 after a lengthy stint on the sidelines.
Launching off their 2022 season at the AORC opener in St George, Chandler and Ryan swiftly turned their attention to the NSW Championship and a date with the Colo Park Challenge. Firing up the freshly tuned Jimco after an engine miss in Queensland, Chandler was not fazed by the wet Colo track, crossing for a spirited third outright.
Dondingalong was next on the calendar, and once more on a drenched circuit Chandler performed faultlessly. Going into Dondingalong, Chandlers best career result was second outright at Wittitrin in 2015; Chandler has always taken a liking to his local Kempsey events. Blitzing the prologue dash Chandler was never headed, landing a comfortable maiden outright win in front of family and friends.
With control of the New South Wales title race, Chandler lined up at the Kempsey 300 in August. Prologuing in third outright was the perfect start, and despite a near flawless weekend, Chandler was cut short on the final lap on Sunday with a broken steering rack.
In the midst of the constant wet weather putting the likelihood of the final round at Nabiac in doubt, Chandler and Ryan knew they had to put it all on the line at Warialda in September. There was a special feeling in the air at Mt Monomeeth last year, and Dave took full advantage, snaring second spot by a tantalising half a second in the inaugural Top 11 Big Wheel Shootout in honour of Terry Rose.
Unfortunately, a rollover on the last short course lap on Saturday ended any outright hopes, though the title dream was still alive.
Rapid repairs to the Jimco Sunday morning changing a rear brake rotor in the pits meant they missed the long course reconnaissance, though thanks greatly to Turner Racing they made the heat start and pushed on, without them it would not have been possible.
Chandler survived the gruelling Warialda terrain to cross third in class, more than enough for the Port Macquarie based duo to lay claim to a first Motorsport Australia NSW Off Road Outright and Class Championship; one that was thoroughly deserved.
Not only does he perform on track, Chandler is also very instrumental behind the scenes in the NSW off road community. Currently the Chairperson of the New South Wales Off Road State Panel, Chandler is also the chief scrutineer for his local Kempsey Off Road Club and Clerk of Course at events when not competing.
Chandler and crew are set to defend their New South Wales title in 2023, kicking off at Nabiac in late March. Scheduled to contest all seven rounds of the championship, which includes the reintroduction of Milbrodale, Chandler’s crusade will strongly depend on car and budget.
Like all successful race teams, Chandler has always possessed a large band of supporters and sponsors who contribute immensely to his racing endeavours. Firstly, a massive thank you must go to Chandler’s wife Ashley and kids for putting up with the long hours in the shed, and to father Lloyd for all his help, guidance and support on and off the track over the years.
Also, a deserving shoutout to Jono Ryan for his superb navigating across 2022, pushing Chandler all the way at each race. Lastly, to Brendan, Shane and Jamie of Turning Racing, where, without their help at Warialda, Chandler would not have finished nor secured a maiden NSW Off Road Championship.
Copy supplied by Toby Cooper – TC Media